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Tip #3: Let’s talk plants!

Updated: May 3, 2021

The third (but most powerful, in my opinion) easy thing you can do to make a huge positive impact on your health, is to EAT MORE PLANTS! Plant foods are probably the single most agreed upon tool in a healthy toolkit. No matter what your beliefs are around the healthiest dietary pattern, lifestyle, or habits, there is really little to no debate about the benefit of eating a wide variety of fresh raw fruits, vegetables, and berries. Recent unsubstantiated controversy surrounding some types of plant foods, like whole grains, legumes, beans and seeds has been in the media, and yet the preponderance of the scientific evidence still points to the incredible benefits of eating lots of these along with the fruit, veggie and berries that remain all but undisputed. Why plant foods? What is so special about plants?

There are so many reasons, but I will share just two here: Antioxidants and Fiber. (I could also go into pre-biotic and pro-biotic benefits, but I will share that in my article about gut health). We have all heard of antioxidants, but do we really know what they are or what they do? Can we get them in a bottle at the local Vitamin Shop?

Antioxidants are powerful compounds that are only found in whole plant foods. You cannot get effective antioxidants from a bottle of vitamins, or even a bottle that says “antioxidants”on it. What do antioxidants do? They neutralize the damaging free radicals that are the byproduct of metabolism in our bodies every day. We are made of trillions of cells, and every single cell takes about 10,000 hits of oxidative stress every single day. Without having antioxidants on board, we are unable to neutralize that damage and have protection in our bodies. Antioxidants are not found in animal products or most processed foods. They are found in fresh raw or frozen fruits and veggies and berries, as well as whole grains, legumes, beans, seeds, and sea vegetables. Literally in plants! The effects of oxidative stress are aging, disease, and inflammation, and protecting our bodies is as easy as eating plants! The recommended serving size is the size of your fist, and everyone needs a minimum of 7 to 13 servings every single day, of a wide variety. The other compound in plant foods that is so beneficial is fiber. I will share a lot more about fiber in my article about gut health, but suffice it to say that fiber is broken into two categories: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is what our healthy gut bacteria eats, And insoluble fiber is what our body uses to sweep out toxins and waste, excess hormones, mucus, and all the other nasty stuff. Without good fiber, our gut cannot be healthy, and our body cannot sweep out the toxins. Fiber is naturally found in plant foods, and the average American adult should be shooting for 25 to 45 g of fiber per day minimum. With all the counting of macros like fat, carbs, and protein, we would do much better to count our fiber instead. When we are working to get a maximum amount of fiber, we will get a better balance of all the other macros, and we will be healthier overall. So count your fiber! And eat lots of it in the form of natural fresh whole foods. Not in a powder from the drugstore!

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